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Flint mayor wants new pilot program to remove lead service lines

Work crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Flint officials want to replace thousands of service lines. To date, only 33 have been removed

The city of Flint plans to move ahead with plans to remove more lead service lines.

Pipes connecting homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

But so far, of the thousands of suspect service lines under city streets, only 33 have been replaced. 

Now Mayor Karen Weaver says she’s asking the city council to approve contracts with two Flint companies (Goyette Mechanical and WT Stevens Construction, Inc.) to remove 250 service lines as part of a new pilot program.

“We are making progress,” says Mayor Weaver in a written statement. “It may not be happening as fast as many would like including myself, but it is happening. This is a very important process and we want to get it right.”

Finding ways to reduce the cost is a top priority.

“The goal of the city’s pilot study is to basically do an analysis of the cost to replace the water service lines,” said Brigadier General Michael McDaniel, manager of the Weaver’s FAST Start project. “We know what our estimated cost is per home, but with other groups reporting different numbers and after receiving higher bids than expected to do the job, we feel this is an important step to help determine the most logical and efficient way to proceed.”

Flint has $2 million from the state to pay for service line replacement, part of which will be used for the new pilot program.

Another round of service line replacement will be paid for with money from a $25 million appropriation in the next state budget.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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